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Center Snapshot: Nicole Hintermeister
Nicole Hintermeister. Image above: Nicole Hintermeister works at NASA Langley as a project scheduler for various programs. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

The fourth of July elicits bittersweet memories for Nicole Hintermeister.

Bitter, because on that day two years ago, she flew to Chile after learning that her stepfather, whom she easily refers to as "dad," was diagnosed with melanoma. He passed away two weeks later.

Sweet, because she traveled to Spain for a one-month exchange program as a Florida Atlantic University international business student and, on July 4, some locals bought her group a round of drinks to celebrate.

Hintermeister has a full house of adoring memories associated with "dad." And she is continually adding new ones with husband Jason and son Lukas, who recently turned 3.

Hintermeister was born in Wisconsin and moved to Saudi Arabia shortly after birth. She lived there eight years. During her middle and high school years, she and her family moved to five different countries – Chile, Colombia, America, Malaysia and Brazil.

"Amazingly, I still graduated with an honors grade-point average," she said. "Studying was one of the main things that kept me grounded, with a sense of direction to where I was headed in the future."

Her parents led them to different countries with careers as a engineer in the oil industry and a high-level executive for new phone companies in "developing" countries.

After graduating from college, she lived in Kuwait. It was there that she met her husband at the American Embassy, where parties were held every few weeks. Jason was working in information technology (IT) at Camp Doha, the main U.S. Army base in Kuwait.

"We had no other connection aside from being there at the same place - same time," Hintermeister said.

They moved to northern Virginia after the war in Iraq began.

"Living overseas definitely made me open-minded about cultures, languages and the differences in life philosophies from various people. I like traveling to other countries and seeing first-hand the unique characteristics of the region," Hintermesiter said. "I feel they are all special and amazing. They all deserve to be treated with respect, and I try to honor their culture while I visit there. I feel a close bond to South America (Chile) and the Middle East."

Their next and latest move was to Hampton when her husband accepted an IT job at Langley Air Force Base. As a newcomer to the area, she immediately took notice of NASA Langley and set her sights on working at the center.

In 2009, she began her work at Langley as a scheduler for programs such as the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI), the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT), ORION and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory CLARREO.

She enjoys planning, no matter the case.

She serves as the vice-president of the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) for NASA Langley’s Child Development Center (LCDC), and volunteers her efforts for several annual events and initiatives.

Hintermeister has two older brothers and a younger sister. From a young age, she remembers hearing stories about space and planets from her brothers, which influenced her interest in NASA. Though distance parts her from her siblings, they remain close.

"My siblings have been my best friends and loyal support throughout our lives, since we all experienced the same unexpected changes when moving around the world," Hintermeister said. "They were my 'constant' factor – always there for each other when we had issues or drama. Even though we all live in different places now, we keep in touch regularly and the bond never fades, even with our busy lives."

Ultimately in Hintermeister's life, the sweet outweighs the bitter.

The Researcher News
NASA Langley Research Center
Editor & Curator: Denise Lineberry
Managing Editor: Jim Hodges
Executive Editor & Responsible NASA Official: Rob Wyman